Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Cosmological Argument: The Existence of God Demonstrated by the Existence of the Universe

Have you ever wondered why there is something rather than nothing?

All things being considered fairly, it’s probably more likely that nothing would have existed than something. If nothing ever existed, we wouldn’t have to ask where any of it comes from. There wouldn’t even be an “us” to ponder the question.

But that fact that something exists  rather than nothing is a primary clue to approach the God Question. The fact that something exists--anything--begs the question: where did it come from?

The Cosmological Argument
One of the classical "proofs" for the existence of God is called the Cosmological Argument. It is called the cosmological argument because the word “cosmos” means universe. It is an argument for the existence of God based on the existence of a universe. The cosmological argument is centuries old. It goes something like this:

    A. Some things exist. Would anyone really dispute this point? If you do, raise your hand. If you raised your hand you just raised a thing and confirmed Premise A.
    B.  All things that exist are either caused (contingent) or uncaused (necessary). Really there are no other categories. I doubt many would deny Premise B either.   
    C. If caused (contingent) things exist, there must be an uncaused (necessary) thing as their ultimate source.
    Conclusion: This uncaused (necessary) thing is God.

All contingent things are caused or made by something else. When we take any one object (a desk, tree, a shoe, a man) and consider its origin, we can trace it to other contingent things. In a long series of successive "causes" we trace caused (or contingent) things back to other caused (contingent) things, to still other caused (contingent) things until eventually we have to say—there must have been an uncaused cause that started the entire series in the first place.

Unmoved Mover
Aristotle (384-322 BC) in Book 12 of his “Metaphysics” called this necessary logical starting point the “Unmoved Mover.” Aristotle himself was not a Christian. He wasn’t a Jew either. His “Unmoved Mover” was a far cry from the God of the Bible that we know and love. But at least this pagan philosopher recognized that at the starting point of history there must have been a necessary being that himself is not caused, created, or made, or initiated by anything else. There must have been an Unmoved Mover!

Some will say, “We science people call that the ‘Big Bang,’” i.e. when the universe spontaneously erupted into existence. But naked science has some real philosophical problems. The Big Bang cannot qualify as the Unmoved Mover because it does not explain what caused it to go “bang” in the first place. As a theory, it doesn’t explain how “matter” got there or what caused it to explode two seconds before it did. Eventually, Aristotle (and Thomas Aquinas after him) would say: we must ultimately come to a being that does the causing, without Himself being caused.

In other words, underlying all contingent things, is a necessary being--God.

Matthew Everhard is the Senior Pastor of Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Brooksville, Florida. He is currently doing a sermon series entitled He is There and He is Not Silent in which he is considering the cumulative case for the existence of God.

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